Dietary exposure to inorganic arsenic in the European population

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Article
European Food Safety Authority
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2014;12(3):3597 [68 pp.].
doi
10.2903/j.efsa.2014.3597
Acknowledgements

EFSA wishes to thank all the European countries that provided occurrence data on arsenic, the European Commission that supported the consumption data collection for the Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database, EFSA’s staff members: José Ángel Gómez Ruiz, for the preparatory work on this scientific output, Davide Arcella, Mary Gilsenan and Enikö Varga for the support provided to this scientific output. Special thanks to Michael DiNovi and Peter Fürst for reviewing the final report and providing valuable comments.

Type
Scientific Report of EFSA
On request from
European Commission
Question Number
EFSA-Q-2012-00107
Approved
28 February 2014
Published in the EFSA Journal
6 March 2014
Affiliation
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Parma Italy
Note
Abstract

Arsenic is a ubiquitous metalloid present at low concentrations in rocks, soil and natural ground water. A total of 103 773 food samples (including drinking water) were used to calculate dietary exposure to inorganic arsenic (iAs). Of these, 101 020 were based on total arsenic (tAs) and 2 753 on iAs. Among the reported results on tAs, 66.1 % were below the limit of detection or quantification (left-censored); for the reported data on iAs the percentage of left-censored data was 41.9 %. Most of the data (92.5 %) reported as tAs were converted to iAs using different approaches before calculating dietary exposure to iAs. The EFSA Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database was used to estimate chronic dietary exposure to iAs using 28 surveys from 17 European countries. According to the scenarios used for the treatment of left-censored data, mean dietary exposure among infants, toddlers and other children ranged from 0.20 to 1.37 μg/kg b.w. per day, while the 95th percentile dietary exposure estimates ranged from 0.36 to 2.09 μg/kg b.w. per day. Mean dietary exposure among the adult population (including adults, elderly and very elderly) ranged from 0.09 to 0.38 μg/kg b.w. per day, and 95th percentile dietary exposure estimates ranged from 0.14 to 0.64 μg/kg b.w. per day. For all the age classes except infants and toddlers, the main contributor to dietary exposure to iAs was the food group ‘Grain-based processed products (non rice-based)’, in particular, wheat bread and rolls. Other food groups that were important contributors to iAs exposure were rice, milk and dairy products (main contributor in infants and toddlers), and drinking water. The most important sources of uncertainty in the present assessment are related to the heterogeneity of the food consumption data, the conversion of tAs into iAs and to the treatment of the left-censored data.

Keywords
food, occurrence data, dietary exposure, inorganic arsenic
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Number of Pages
68